Trib­ute paid to Ma­jor Shaw

For­mer Army man dies, aged 78

Ayrshire Post - - Cumnock And Doon Valley - Stephen Hous­ton

Ma­jor Wil­lie Shaw, who would have been 79 later this month, has died af­ter a short ill­ness.

He was mil­i­tary from the peak of his cap to the sole of his boots, de­scribed by his peers as the last of the old school army men.

His loy­alty to the Royal High­land Fusiliers had no equal, re­tir­ing as Reg­i­men­tal Sec­re­tary in 2006 af­ter al­most 50 years con­tin­u­ous ser­vice.

More than 400 peo­ple were at his fu­neral at Ma­son­hill where all five colour stan­dards of the dif­fer­ent vet­er­ans’ as­so­ci­a­tions stood to­gether for the first time any­where.

Ma­jor Shaw, who lived in Troon, car­ried out his ba­sic train­ing with the RSF in 1957 at the Churchill Bar­racks in Ayr, af­ter en­list­ing into the Med­i­cal Corps the year be­fore.

And af­ter be­com­ing an NCO it was noted he al­ready per­fected a pow­er­ful pa­rade ground voice.

One con­tem­po­rary noted: “He op­er­ated at a high deci­bel level with a turn of phrase which to­day would have caused those with a del­i­cate con­sti­tu­tion to seek im­me­di­ate coun­selling.”

To Jim McMil­lan of the Ayr branch of the Royal Scots Fusiliers Old Com­rades As­so­ci­a­tion, Ma­jor Shaw was leg­endary.

Jim said: “Ma­jor Shaw was the last of the old school sol­diers. He did not tol­er­ate fools or rogues gladly.

“Even un­til re­cently he would still travel the length and breadth of Bri­tain at­tend­ing funerals of his ex-mem­bers of the Reg­i­ment to pay his re­spects.

“We were for­tu­nate to have him as Honorary Pres­i­dent of the Ayr branch. His knowl­edge of reg­i­men­tal eti­quette, at­ten­tion to de­tail and his pho­to­graphic mem­ory made him ir­re­place­able.

“He had a nat­u­ral kind­ness and sym­pa­thy and many Fusiliers and their fam­ily’s have cause to be grate­ful to him for the work he did.

“A land­mark has been taken away and we shall never see his likes again. But the mem­ory will long re­main and be re­mem­bered with pride and grat­i­tude.”

Wil­lie Shaw was made an MBE in 1977 for his ef­forts in tri­cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions of the Royal High­land Fusiliers. He had to­tal ded­i­ca­tion to reg­i­men­tal life at home and on bat­tle tours abroad and in North­ern Ire­land, cul­mi­nat­ing in 19 years at head­quar­ters.

While at HQ he built up the reg­i­men­tal as­so­ci­a­tions and clubs, mak­ing many pil­grim­ages to bat­tle­fields on the Con­ti­nent for over 25 years.

His re­tire­ment bash heard: “Vet­er­ans doted on Wil­lie’s ev­ery word and he was known as the Fuhrer - the leader.” He was the key driv­ing force be­hind the cre­ation of the Reg­i­men­tal Mu­seum in Glas­gow.

For six months he was on the back of the lucky work­men, ca­jol­ing them to fin­ish on time. Then he spent a huge amount of time gath­er­ing and con­serv­ing the arte­facts.

Be­fore his re­tire­ment he was im­mersed in the con­ver­sion of the Scot­tish In­fantry bat­tal­ions to the Royal Reg­i­ment of Scot­land. And he had a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in look­ing af­ter 1RHF.

Wil­lie Shaw leaves his wife Han­nah and chil­dren Martin and Fiona.

Queen’s Man Ma­jor Shaw at Buck­ing­ham Palace in 1977 with his MBE, wife Han­nah and chil­dren Martin and Fiona

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